An etiquette expert has revealed why Prince Harry and Meghan appear to have stopped holding hands at official engagements since becoming husband and wife.

The duo were previously known as one of the more tactile royal couples, often pictured hand-in-hand at events.

However, since their much anticipated nuptials in May, there has been much talk surrounding the Prince and the Duchess appearing to avoid hand-holding during official public appearances, the Daily Mail reports.

Read more: • The one thing that Meghan Markle has stopped wearing

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Now etiquette expert William Hanson has explained that while there is no official royal protocol against the gesture, the couple may feel the need to appear more "professional" now that they are married, and added that Meghan could also more confident in her role.

Speaking to Femail, he said: "Prince Harry has probably felt less of a need to hold Meghan's hand as she seems to be much more confident and secure in her new role, and so needs less emotional and physical support from her now-husband.

"Public displays of affection, such a hand holding, may be accepted in private situations and in social spheres, but when out in public Harry and Meghan are on official business and so it is not considered professional behaviour."

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex holding hands at Royal Ascot. Photo / Getty Images
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex holding hands at Royal Ascot. Photo / Getty Images

Describing William (who is second in line to the throne) and Kate's body language as more "traditional", he added: "They seem much more reserved with their emotions and affection whereas Harry and Meghan are more tactile. It comes down to different styles for different royal couples."

And explaining the protocol with being tactile in the royal family, he said: "There is no official rule in regards to hand holding.

"However it is not something we have seen HM The Queen or HRH Prince of Wales do with their respective spouses."

"I suspect Prince Harry and The Duchess of Sussex realise that now they are married their job and status is what comes first," he concluded.

Last week Prince Harry was pictured appearing to avoid Meghan's hand during the Young Leaders Reception at Buckingham Palace.

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Critics were quick to slam Meghan's affectionate gesture at the ceremony, with The Mirror reporting that The Windsors condemn displays of affection in public.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony. Photo / Getty Images
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony. Photo / Getty Images

However fans quickly defended the American beauty, tweeting: "Leave the girl alone."

Another man added "she isn't trying to hold his hand" while another asked: "Why can't they just hold hands?".

Their display was in stark contrast to previous appearances by the loved-up couple, who put on a very tactile appearance during their engagement shoot and interview.

Speaking to Femail in November about the couple, body language expert Judi James said: "These two are a lot more tactile that your average royal couple.

"Meghan won't be putting a foot out of line but she'll be a breath of fresh air for the Royal family."

"They looked incredibly happy. Harry almost looks shocked with emotion and affection. I think we'll see the two of them very well matched."